Tag Archives: Dogs

Pretty Things

Some days it is hard to feel positive when you have to see things you really despise in politics, social issues, the environment and so on. I have decided recently to try to do my best to clear my life out of these things by getting rid of media, people, and other exposures to things that don’t make me happy. On my own I am able to seek out the issues that make me passionate; I can fight good fights without having to constantly be bombarded by people who feel opposite of how I do.  I think that social media makes people really angry, pseudo-anonymous, and really geared up to fight, shout their opinions regardless of how they could make others feel and so on.  I have taken a step back recently on how that makes me feel – and how I want to basically portray myself more as a full human being, instead of just someone who has a certain view on a specific social topic. There is more to me than just the fact I support a certain decision. That being said however, I am really torn because there are certain people who I love for what they do, but not who they are – and that can really be a hard thing to deal with. I guess that is a good reason to not ‘friend’ someone on social media – instead ‘like’ their pages where they discuss their art, their business, etc. This being said – I am removing a few people from my social media websites so that I don’t have to be blindsided constantly by political things that I have no power to change – things often that take place in a country I don’t even live in. I know that we don’t have the power to agree, but I want to have the power still to respect the amazing art that is pumped out of these people.

It has been an insanely busy week – I have gotten so much done so that I can go away and spend some rare time with my family on a camping trip. I have dyed and packaged 3 new fun yarn kits/lines for KW knitter’s fair. I have done a full load of pottery – new yarn bowls, vases, bowls, cups, and more – some to join me at the Art in the Open market and some for KW knitter’s fair.  I have gotten a lot of work done at my day job. I have dyed a ton of yarn….and spun a lot too! I am bringing my spinning wheel on this camping trip and I hope to get some great, relaxing spinning time along with some kayaking, hiking, photography and just relaxing.

Here’s a peek at some faux cashmere I dyed – one braid of several different colourways. This is such a nice fibre to dye.

 

And a peek at a yarn I spun this week with some nice wool flowers. I actually got to spin this at my knit night at Whole Foods – it’s such a great place to do creative things. I find you get a lot of positive attention.

 

I bought this beautiful burl from the exotic wood store some time ago and my husband/business partner/slave finished staining and sealing it for me this week. He is truly the blessing of my life and helps me with so many creative endeavours that I cannot even think of ways to possibly thank him enough for all of his patience and support. I am very lucky.

 

There are still about a million things to do tonight before I head to bed early to prepare to wake up at 5am for the market so I should get packing clothes and toiletries, and washing yarn, and so on! I leave this post with a picture of a sleepy, unimpressed Poppy in his new gnome costume.

Pickled Plans

It was a great weekend – Art in the Open was awesome and there was the most beautiful weather ever – so perfect for Farmer’s market – really cool and bright days.  I managed to get a lot of work done this week and it feels somewhat good. The trick is not looking too far ahead at all the stuff on my ‘to do’ list. All things will come with time.

I bought a big bunch of cukes to make the annual dill pickles and got them canned yesterday. Today I am making Lord Grey’s Peach Preserves out of the amazing peaches I bought.  I have really been feeling the cooking bug lately – more than ever now that I am adding ‘A Salad a Day’ to my diet. One of the highlights of the fresh eating was this zucchini noodle salad that I made.

It was a nice side to the steaks marinated in merlot that Mike grilled. Last year I went to a raw food class and purchased a machine to make these noodles. I love it! It is a great substitute for having pasta and very fresh, palette cleansing and cool for summer. I added little sprigs of cauliflower and then made a dressing from pesto, oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped cherry tomatoes, diced black olives, kefir lime leaves and finely chopped red onions. It was yummy!

I am also really in love with all the fresh flowers at the Farmer’s market. I don’t ever see myself as a flower grower. I think when I have the land to farm I am going to concentrate on fruit and vegetables because they serve more of a purpose. But that just means I can support other farmers by buying their amazing flowers! Look at these!

 

While I am writing I should likely mention that Worldwide Spin in Public Day is fast approaching! Check out events near you here – http://www.wwsipday.com/. If there aren’t any – book your own by emailing me through the website! My event will be on Sunday, Sept. 16th in Mississauga at Hiawatha Park – I can’t wait. I love sitting under the big willow tree and playing with all the fibres and hanging out with friends.

 

And I leave you with Toasty the amazing hand-balancing acrobat!

Bread and Paper

So, poor week went really well actually and made me think a lot about what I am eating and how I want to change that more than before. I recently made a bunch of decisions about food. I am now eating almost entirely organic, farm raised and naturally fed things. I am not eating at any more big box fast food restaurants.  This week brought me to the salad a day idea – I am replacing one meal a day with salad. The funny thing is that naturally you would want to believe that this will be the dreaded meal of the day – but really it isnt! I mean, on day 1 I got to eat this!

I made my own vinigarette with olive oil, pineapple vinegar, homemade raspberry/strawberry jam, elderberries, and flax seeds – put them in a jar and shake and voila! Then I tossed baby spinach, salad greens, and fresh tomatoes in the bowl with some blueberries. On the side some awesome Edwardsburg cheese from Black River and some rainforest crackers – a real addiction of mine.

I have been reading ‘Made from Scratch’ by Jenna Woginrich and rather enjoying it so I thought I would try out her bread recipe – the standard country white loaf bread. I wanted something decadent during poor week, but also something that was very handmade from scratchy ingredients. So, I muscled my way through the 25 minutes or so of kneading to get to that baker’s window with bread where it is just perfect. And here they are – my loaves of love.

Last weekend I was also treated to a really amazing workshop on handbuilding with paper clay, taught by Lesley McInally.  I really loved the medium and I am finding myself really inspired to work with different shapes and textures in clay. It was a great, informative and fun time. Lesley is a great instructor – very giving of her knowledge and experience.

 

I make my return to the Farmer’s market/Art in the Open tomorrow.  I am looking forward to spinning outside and hanging out in the relaxing market environment. The next month promises to be really busy preparing for Kitchener/Waterloo Knitter’s Fair, finishing up 2012’s canning and preserving of food, and trying to meet a few goals before summer passes by.

Now to share a little sweetness before I need to get down to work on stuff…this is what I deal with every time I have a bubble bath – Toasty is a born water dog and always pleads to jump in. Usually he walks along the side of the tub giving me the cutie eyes.

 

Wednesdays of Worry, Thursdays of Thousands of Things

Leading up to the semi-long weekend of Canada day proved to be rather busy and crazy. On Wednesday at some point, I noticed a little trail of blood on the cushion of the couch and immediately jumped into action to figure out who, what and why….

So then as I suspected, it was dog related, specifically, Poppy’s toe. I had this bad feeling that something more than a bandaid was going to be needed..just an inkling. I told Mat to bring Poppy upstairs and I got out all the first aid things, toenail clippers, etc. and then said a little audible plead while looking at this weirdly crooked toenail ‘Please…please be attached!’ and I looked to the sky. Then, I went for it…a little wiggle of the toenail revealed that yes, it wasn’t really attached…it had broken right at the root of the toe, sort of. So, I inhaled deeply and was somewhat panicked. I then thought I would turn to the internet for advice (why…oh why?) so I googled ‘dog broken toenail’ hoping, wishing…for an answer. Some part of me always hopes in these situations that there will be some tried and true granny’s cure for this.  I was kind of hoping for ‘soak the foot in vinegar and it will magically reattach the nail to the foot’ but who was I kidding? The creepy advice I did find was to ‘use a pair of clean plyers to pull …..’ and then I stopped reading, almost fainted and called the emergency veterinary hospital. So, one hour and $200 later….my dog is freakin’ adorable, but also, fixed, and well…stoned.

Yes, his little rubber cast said ‘OUCH’.

Now it is like nothing happened and he is back to the same fun, playful, crazy dog he always is. The nail has started to grow back again. What have I learned? Be ridiculously better at keeping his nails trimmed. They were a bit too long and this could have been prevented. I will make sure of it going forward. This is the reason he had prime rib for dinner. Oh yes…

So, Canada Day this year fell on a Thursday, yesterday, which I was kind of thinking was crappy because it isn’t a true long weekend. However, I have to say that with the exception of not getting to go to pottery class, I had an amazingly fulfilling day.

It started with fresh strawberry rhubarb crisp from this recipe. All of the ingredients were from my local farmer’s market haul for the week. I love summer…and this week has been so perfect weather wise. My local farmer’s market, despite not having any crafty element, is great for food, as one would expect.

Yesterday morning started with a clean kitchen and very little prep work:

Flour, butter, oats – oh my!

Clean and sliced rhub and strub!

Eggy, before the beating of a lifetime

Cooling a crisp on the window sill, a la June Cleaver

Alas, breakfast!

Then, with the weather being the blissfulness of sunshine and cool breezes, I decided a dog adventure was to be underway. So, I leashed up the pups and away we went to one of my favourite hiking trails with this little waterfall and river.  So, we walked and walked.

And then there we were at the river. The dogs played around in the water and it was really nice just getting my feet wet and splashing the pups.

After a good splash, lunch time was approaching so we started the trek back and stopped in a field of buttercups and wild flowers.

After tiring out the dogs I decided I needed to get back to the home stuff I was working on over the last couple of days. I have been loading myself up with all sorts of extra work lately but it has been worth it. I have not felt a lot like spinning because I don’t want to be stationary and I want to be outside. So, I figure I will do what I want as the feeling hits. For some time now I have felt like my bedroom is too…utilitarian. It was one of the rooms that I didn’t really get to do much with when I moved into this house because we had run out of time and energy having painted and decorated my studio and the entire middle floor of the house. So, it was a boring baby puke oatmeal kind of colour that I really disliked. There is, I have learned, nothing like a trip to Ikea to get the brain working way more than you ever need it to. So, with the purchase of a couple of plants…everything went awry. Next thing I knew I was going to the hardware store for some washers to affix my new shoe cabinet to the wall in the hallway. The colour cards for paint always draw my attention so I decided I wanted to paint my room an ocean blue colour, and next thing I knew I was walking out of the hardware store with paint and brushes and rollers. Then I remembered that I have been trying to clean and organize to entertain houseguests and sort of kicked myself for starting this whole shenanigan to begin with. But, oh well, it needed doing. All of the hidden things, like the carpeting under my bed, needed a good dusting/vacuuming and so on. So, now my room is done and it is all fresh and clean…but I am left needing a new solution for my necklaces. I had thought of one that I found brilliant over the last couple of years – hanging them on these wire towel racks. I could see them all, reach them and freely accessorize. However, DUST! ew….so, they need to be inside something. I hate dust. A lot! But I have an idea that yes, will require another trip tonight to Ikea, in which I also plan to buy a new blanket. Goodness help me if I leave with anything else. I don’t have anymore home reno time right now.

Anyhow, here is a bitsy of the bedroom, in bad light. Sorry..

The bed is not made as it was just put in that place. Also, I have never been much of a bedmaker. Sorry Mom.

It is a nice blue, and I sleep beside the window so it is really airy. It is accessorized with only what it needs and not a lot of extra crap to make my brain work too hard. The blank spot on the back wall will soon hold my new jewellery solution. There are lilac branches around the light fixture and yarn hanging behind the bed. It is an overall nice thing to look up at.

The new plants that started it all, a mystery succulent and an elephant’s foot palm, sit on my windowsill.

And, a simple little arrangement on my dresser.

This weekend promises to involve more cleaning, arranging and organizing. It’s the right time to do it – so fresh outside. I want to bring the outside in.

Fresh Air and Sunshine

Yesterday was a great day. I got up early, opened all the windows in the house,  had breakfast and got started working away on a bunch of work stuff. Working at home can be so much more pleasant than sitting in a dull, flourescently lit office.  I got a lot of work done thankfully, but also embarked upon a recipe for Cherries Jubillle with Butter Crunch Icecream. I will post photos of the entire 2 day process a little later. Note to self – next time read the recipe to fully understand the prep time – holy cow!

Anyhow, other than working on that I also finished up a handspun yarn, my ode to the Golden Girls:

And, I finished up a bit of pottery, watched ‘Up’ and thoroughly enjoyed it and knit a bit of my sock.

I also emptied my camera of it’s pictures so here’s a bit of what I have been up to:

Worldwide Knit in Public day brought me to Hiawatha Park where I worked on my Totem Pole sock.

The tide had been high the day before so there was still a lot of fresh seaweed on the rock ledge just below where I sat. This is one of the most peaceful places in this city. I come here often just to look at the water, reflect and watch different birds swimming, fishing and flying. There were a lot of cormorants that day. I am starting to wonder if the introduction of their species to this area might be one of those ‘oops’ situations and now they are massively overpopulated. It sort of seems that way.

I am really enjoying the warm summer with cool breezes we seem to be having in springtime. It’s nice and I have even been making time to run, go for long walks and hikes and such. I am starting to find my balance among artistic endeavors, exercise activities and work.

I also love working at home because I can hang out with my dogs. I spent a good hour working away on a project plan and throwing this lamb rattle toy for Poppy. This is after he was sort of tired out, but still springing inward with energy. He’s a happy guy.

I have been cleaning the house like crazy too. Part of me could really love being a domestic goddess I think. The perfect life might be held in being your own boss, being artsy and just having time to look after a family and a house. I think my path is getting a bit closer to that. I am trying to take more pictures of the various houses and such I have lived in. I always think back to the different apartments and condos in which I have lived and wish I had more pictures of the decor.

I am the last of the holdouts in not buying one of those flashy flat screen televisions. We don’t watch a lot of TV in this house so it hasn’t been a priority much.

Here’s a bit of the yarn dyeing adventure from yesterday. These are still drying on the rack in the sunshine of my kitchen.

And I am engrossed in reading ‘Sweater Quest’ right now, and managed to finish up another octopus yarn bowl. I have 3 done and they will go into my next bisque. I went to the pottery guild lastnight and finished up a couple other pieces and threw more. I think I need another bisque before I will have enough to fill up a good portion of our large kiln for glazing.

And, now it is time to get cracking on more work stuff and start packing for the weekend. I am going away for a little bitsy, visting the family and such. Pictures to come!

Of Dogs and Totem Poles

Yesterday I had a really great morning. I went to Woofstock! One of the nicest things about living in Toronto is that there is always something going on – and this weekend it is North America’s largest dog festival! The roads all around St. Lawrence Market are closed down and you get to see every kind of dog imaginable. It’s so fun. First the dogs take a stroll up the red carpet.

There are hordes of people with dogs, vendors, restarants, and it’s just a really fun, happy scene.

I will mention that I published my Totem Pole Socks pattern up on Ravelry as a free download – but then the rest of this post will be entirely dog related. 🙂

Grab it here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/totem-pole-socks

Ok, now on to the dogs!

First my favourite dog of the day – this sweet little girl in her roller cart:

She was so sweet, calm and gentle and her face had a way of melting your soul.

Funniest dog face of the day is awarded to:

Best tutu award….

Cutest toenails…

Best all-over face lick!

Best dachshund prarie dog stance! (This is a piebald – really rare..)

Most impressive fancy group of cute:

Best leash chompage:

Least amount of hair:

Today I need to get a little knitting in public done – WWKIPD was officially yesterday, but I am sure you can see why I simply didn’t make time.  🙂

More Stuff I Haven’t Talked About Yet!

Do you ever do so many things that you don’t have time to write them all down? That is me…except that I am also very obsessed with trying to take pictures of everything, write it all down and have something to do when I’m 84 and want to remember the salad days.

So, while on vacation I went to North Carolina and I got to meet Miss Violet of Limenviolet fame! It was fun and we met up at Gate City Yarns which is an awesome shop in Greensboro. Its a really cute place. All of North Carolina is…and it’s very green and has a real appreciation for biscuits. It is not hard pressed to find a good friend green tomato either…like the ones I had at The Flying Biscuit. They were yummy, served with cashew chutney and goat cheese. I miss them.

I got to spend a lot of time in Raleigh as well – another beautiful place…a lovely B&B with a dog, nice garden, private jacuzzi, and spacious quarters.

Anyhow, back to Gate City Yarns. They have this amazing dog that hangs out stretched across the floor. His name is Reese and he is the epitome of adorable town! The minute I stepped into the shop I fell to my knees and made a squeal so loud I think only dogs may have heard it.Look at this guy!

Also, he does awesome tricks! When Tina, the owner, told him to ‘go help the customer’ he ran right up to the cash register and stood behind it like a cute little shop owner.

Also, in Greensboro, we had amazing cheesecake at Cheesecakes by Alex. Then we checked out a really cute shop called ‘Just Be‘ – all local artisans and different fun stuff.

It was really cute and they had a bubble machine outside so bubbles were a-floatin’ all over town, down the street. It was cute watching the courier bringing packages to the shop and making his way through the bubbles.

After leaving North Carolina, I spent some time in Maryland surrounding the Sheep and Wool festival. It was really nice and I got to spend lots of time relaxing and being outside.

But oh, the yarn acquisition. There was much of it…but take a look at some of these pretties and tell me how I could have resisted?

Then I was able to get to one of my favourite places, Susquehanna State Park, in Maryland…some neat fun photos – I was amazed to find out they had giant millipedes there …I had blogged a bit about this a couple posts ago when I posted the picture of that weird creepy bug. But here’s more:

Spider hiding behind the middle section of a flower

This tree looked like a pretty puzzle

A very green bug

Spending an afternoon knitting, relaxing with good company and looking at this…is wonderful. Can someone pay me to do this every day?

Sir David Attenborough, if you are reading this, please adopt me? I will bake you many a cookie. Promise!

Before I Forget…and Warkwarth is Awesome!

I have this terrible habit of taking all sorts of pictures when I go places but then letting them sit on my computer desktop in folders instead of uploading and sharing them. So, I’m going to do a little bit of ‘before I forget’ today and also talk about the awesome art yarn spinning workshop I was lucky enough to teach in Warkwarth, Ontario.

First off – this was a lovely day in Port Hope, ON when I visited The Black Lamb and then took a little trek down to the waterfront to hang out with a bunch of Canada geese.

The geese seemed to look so regal next to the white landscape and all the pretty shades of blue in the sky and water.

It was really neat to look at all of the mini-icebergs and patterns that the ice was making as it was breaking away from the melting beach and soaring out into the open water.

Also, it was really neat to see the different patterns that all the goose feet were leaving in the ice and snow as the geese trampled around honking at each other.

Geese can be very cheeky and argumentative. I think it’s really fun to just sit quietly and observe them, or try to guess what their little spats are about. They seem to be so territorial that it seems amazing that they can travel in such form, in their V-formation, miles and miles to migrate.

I was also recently in Warkwarth to teach a working on art  yarn spinning, working with techniques and themes. It was a great turnout and a wonderful group of diverse women all very interesting and willing to learn, open up and embrace new ways of furthering their spinning experience. I had a great time meeting everyone and I feel like I was able to share a bit of what I love doing with a lot of talented spinners and fiber workers.  It was nice also that there was a bit of time leftover in the daylight, just to get to wander around Warkwarth. The town is a small, quaint one with lots of nice little shops, a very nice art focus, a nice bakery and some great coffee houses and local fare. They are planning right now, for this weekend’s maple festival. I am wishing I could be there!

I stopped into a nice little shop called Nature on Main St. and did a little bit of stash enhancement. I was surprised to see some locally dyed and even handspun yarn. I picked up this lovely hand dyed skein of violet sock yarn. It was dyed by ‘Jules’ whom I think may be the same Jules that was in attendance at my workshop. 🙂

I also stopped into Frantic Farms Clay and Glass gallery and picked up a couple lovely handblown glass balls for my collection in my kitchen bay window. It is a lovely shop run by a charming potter and her husband, a glass blower. They both did very beautiful work, including some incredible teapots in glazework that I really appreciated – from a wood firing kiln.

Very true to form however, on the way there, and driving through Castleton, I think….there came a stop in the road, where there were 2 large dogs just standing in the road. Being the extreme dog lover and rescuer of all lost and hurt things, my stomach began to hurt the minute I could see them in my line of vision. So, we slowed the car and I looked at them out the window. The one dog began to approach the car in a confident, testy manner. Both of them had expressions on their faces that seemed to be very challenging. Sadly, I could tell they were biters and I knew I would not safely be able to do much about this situation. I looked around and saw about 3 farms in my line of vision and I knew that they belonged to one of the farmers so I had to move on. I really wish however that people would learn to show enough care for their pets to keep them safe – on a leash, in the house, in a pen, etc. ….whatever keeps them off of the road. I think there is a major misconception that if you live out in the country, it’s ok to just let your dog run rampant. It isn’t. All it takes is for one speeding car on the road or even someone to look away from their path while sneezing, changing radio stations, etc. and your precious pal pays the price for your lack of care for their well-being. Rant over…..hesitantly. I swear I only feel this strongly about these things because I have seen it happen on more than one occasion and seeing a dog, the beings I love most in life, be hit by a car and killed is still one of the most painful experiences that plays in my mind. It has been over 10 years since I saw a big white van strike and kill a small beagle right outside the window of where I was sitting. I still remember the sound, the weeping old man who picked up his dog….and the fleeing van. I always swear that if I ever saw that van again I would definitely have to say something to the cruel driver who didnt even stop, because it was not one of those cases where he somehow may not have known that it happened. Just not possible.

So, if I don’t convince you, maybe the adorable forehead wrinkles of my weiner dog will.